This week's Sober Story comes from Caroline, a 45-year-old living in Matawai, Gisborne. She's has written her tale out as a powerful prose piece, rather than the usual Q & A format. Enjoy.
Who is she? What does she want? She is like a tornado. She is not fine if she is sober and she is not fine if she is pissed. She can’t get out of her head, her thoughts consume her and then they become her. But once she is drunk she is FREE!!! Finally free, free to do what ever she wanted. Dance and sing. Yell or argue. To let go of the world.
She hates herself sober. She drinks and drinks until she thinks she has filled her emotional tank. How sad is that?
Sleep is really the only time she is at peace. She wishes she could just fall asleep and not wake up. It’s peaceful in her sleep. When she wakes and the coffee hits her, and her mind is awake, then it starts. "Oh god what did you do? What did you say? Who did you tell to F off?" Then the sadness comes back, her dislike for herself, she is still fat, ugly and depressed and has no friends. No one makes an effort to be there for her. She is getting sicker and sicker. She is going around in circles.
She has no shut off valve.
I look at people, and I wonder why they never fall over drunk, or piss on the end of a bed and then go to sleep in the toilet. Why didn't my brain tell me, "whoa lady you're pissed"?
I needed to feel that I could not fit any more drinks in my body. I needed to drown my worries and concerns for the night. I would drink till I couldn’t walk or talk, then I'd go to bed and start having a go at my husband. If I went out at night, I would get really pissed off when my husband wanted to go home and I wasn’t ready. I remember many times where we would go out for dinner, I'd have about 3 bottles of wine, and started my usual bullshit dribble. We'd have an argument on the way home and he'd get really cross with me because he didn’t understand why I needed to drink so much. It didn’t matter if it was Monday night, Wednesday night or Friday night.
I had Demons. I liken these demons to a pack of angry snarling wolves, and when I drank alcohol they came out. Alcohol made my depression worse. Alcohol made my eating habits worse. Alcohol made my energy levels worse. Alcohol made everything worse.
I just drank more.
I am a very loud in-your-face drunk, saying whatever came to mind. If you were wearing ugly shoes, I’d tell you, "those are the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen in my life" and then probably laugh at you as well. I thought I was having a wonderful time, but then in the morning when I woke up I’d have this terrible feeling of dread and a dark cloud hanging over me. Trying to remember what I done last night, wondering who I’d upset, wondering what sort of private and or personal information I had passed on to everybody.
I hated myself. I was overweight and I lived in the middle of nowhere. It is not funny looking back at the states I got myself into. I remember one night in particular, I was home alone and downed a few bottles of wine and decided I needed more, so I got in my car and drove 25 mins to the local country pub
I had a great time. But on the way home someone from the pub decided to stop in the middle of the road and pretend he had broken down. This is like 2am in the pouring rain, on a very remote rural country road. I got out feeling as though I was ten foot tall and bullet proof. We have a drunken conversation and he grabbed me and pushed me and said he was coming to my house as he knew my husband wasn’t home. I managed to get away, got in my car drove home. I woke up that very next morning and that was when I decided enough is enough. That was my rock bottom moment. I decided it was time to give up drinking.
A dear, dear friend taught me what it is to support a person. To turn up, put the kettle on, say, "I’m here to listen, talk or just sit and sip coffee with you". Or, "here is my shoulder to cry on or rest you head". She was my rock and still is to this day. I love her for all she has done to help and support me, while others walked away. I have noticed in the world if the going gets tough people often just walk away. It’s because they don’t know what to do. Support is just being there or sending a message to let someone know you're there.
I’ve been sober for 10 years now and while I'm not perfect and still have a long way to go I am a way better person than I was when I was drinking. I hated myself and I was overweight. Since giving up drinking I have become a personal trainer doing Power Plate, and I've lost weight and kept it off. I don’t hate myself, I try to love myself. I'm so glad that I had the support and courage to give up drinking as my life now is a happy life.
My husband told me the other day that if I had not given up drinking we would not be married today. That broke my heart. We have been married for 20 years. I can’t blame my childhood, I can’t blame anyone, I can only blame myself and the thought patterns and mindset I put myself into.
Here is to ten years being sober. You can do it.